by Michael Chasin      Screenwriting Mentor, IAFT/Miami


A screenplay can serve many purposes.

It can be the entry into a screenwriting contest or festival—that launches a career.

It can be the pages that the screenwriter sells—for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It can attract elements—such as actor or director—to green-light the project.

It can attract the $20 million—needed for production.

And it will ultimately serve—as the blueprint for cast and crew.

Whatever the screenplay’s purpose, its pages—must be perfect.

Perfect—as in free of grammar, capitalization, spelling, and screenplay format errors.

Along with adversely affecting your credibility, errors—of any kind—will have the worst ultimate effect—distracting the reader—and emotionally taking them out of your story.

As practical matters, consider:

  • Would it be reasonable for cast and crew to spend months—if not years of their lives—filming your screenplay—if it had spelling errors?
  • Would it be reasonable for an entity to invest $20 million in producing your screenplay—if it didn’t conform to industry format?

As for look and feel—each page should have lots—of white space.

While not a rule—the three-line rule—is good to follow—never more than three lines of continuous description or dialogue.

The read of a screenplay should be as a movie is viewed—quick, easy, and always moving forward.

So more than make it right…

Make it—perfect pages.

Michael Chasin
Author: Michael Chasin

Michael Chasin is an award-winning filmmaker with experience ranging from writing, directing, editing, and producing to screenplay consulting.  He founded and currently serves as Director of the ArtServe Film Maker Festival Series.  He’s also been a valued contributor to other festivals where he has presented screenwriting seminars and served as a Best Screenplay judge.  Michael has a boundless passion for filmmaking that he communicates avidly to his IAFT students in his classes on screenwriting, film finance, marketing, and distribution, film festival success, and career development. In addition to his Diploma in Filmmaking, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Masters in Human Resources Management, and a Masters in Business Administration. It's just been announced that Jordan Wall of The Glades will be making his directorial debut with Michael's short script, Greater Goode.